Marysville’s Thomas Rush (27) stops a Hilliard Davidson runner on this play. The Monarchs fell, 28-7.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
Discipline on the football field is to be admired.
Discipline always shows up. Discipline can overcome superior athletes and it’s never out of position. Discipline makes the other team play your game.
Discipline is the staple of Hilliard Davidson’s football program and while it might lack the athletes of years past (five losses so far this season), its attention to detail is still there.
That was one of the big differences in Friday night’s 28-7 win over Marysville. The Monarchs didn’t lack in effort or athletes, but the little things were lacking.
In fact, Friday night marked the hardest the local squad has hit under the lights. The pads were cracking, as exemplified by the five fumbles the Monarchs jarred loose with explosive tackling.
“That was a physical football game,” MHS coach Brent Johnson said. “We asked the kids to get their edge back and they were hitting people, man.
“That’s the name of this game.”
But football is a game of focused aggression and the Monarchs only had half of the equation. The Wildcats, on the other hand, blended both and the stat sheet tells the tale.
Davidson’s defense played gap-sound football and stuffed Marysville’s run-first offense to the tune of 45 yards on the ground. Quarterback Walker Heard did complete 7-of-15 passes for 74 yards to push the MHS offense over the century mark.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats pounded the Monarchs up the gut to set up the toss sweep, like a boxer jabbing to set up the hook. Davidson bruised the Monarchs for 349 yards on the ground.
Both inside and outside run games were on point, as speedster Kalib O’Connor picked up 130 yards on the edge and Jordan Hicks hammered inside for 118.
Marysville picked up the initial first down of the game on its second possession when Heard hit Garrett Gordon to move the sticks. Bodie Eberhart then took a sweep and was off to the races for a 50-yard gain.
A penalty, though, negated the run and the Monarchs punted a few plays later.
In the first eight minutes, the MHS defense was handling the Wildcats’ inside game, Davidson picked up three quick first downs on a pair of sweeps and a quarterback option keeper.
Davidson moved into the red zone as the game moved into the second quarter. There were 13 seconds into the period when Ben Wright went in from a yard out to open the scoring. The point after made the score 7-0 with 11:47 left in the half.
Marysville recovered two Wildcat fumbles in the second quarter, one each by Ethan Smegal and Sean Brogan, and wasn’t able to do much with the first.
The second, however, gave Marysville the ball at the Davidson 35. Marysville pushed inside the 20 before settling for a 36-yard field goal try by Thomas Wolfe.
The kick was blocked, giving the Wildcats the ball with under two minutes to play in the half. Davidson was able to move inside the Monarch red zone with 17 seconds left. A completed pass put the ball at the six-yard-line with 13 seconds to play, but the Monarchs looked like they might keep it at a one-score game when the defense stuffed a sweep.
Wildcat QB A.J. VanVoorhis, who only threw three times in the game, made the most of his chances, hitting Wright for four-yard score. The point after put the score at 14-0 at the half.
The Wildcats put the game away with an 80-yard, seven-play drive with VanVoorhis finishing things off on an option keep from six yards out. The extra point put the score at 21-0 with 9:03 left in the third period.
Neither team did much offensively through the rest of the quarter.
Davidson went on a march late in the third set and got another touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Christian Sweet went in from four yards out. The extra point extended the Wildcats’ lead to 28-0.
The Monarch defense, which recovered its third fumble in the third period, grabbed two more in the fourth. The second, by Anthony DiDonato, gave Marysville the ball at the Hilliard 46 with just over five minutes to play.
Marysville got into the red zone when Heard rolled out left and threw back to Thomas Rush in the right flat. He took the ball to the 13, but the Monarchs advanced the ball only three yards on the next three plays.
Marysville was hit with a penalty on fourth down, setting up a redo, at fourth-and-24 from the 28-yard line.
Heard threw up a prayer in the end zone and Rush outleaped the Wildcat defenders as the Monarchs cracked the scoring column with 1:21 left in the game. Wolfe’s PAT closed out the scoring at 28-7.
“Our kids played hard tonight and I’m proud of them for that,” Johnson said.
The Monarchs, now 3-6, will host Central Crossing to close out the season on Friday.
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